Former Team Liquid support, Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung has tweeted that a potentially worrying form of illegal betting on League of Legends is taking place in China.
Illegal Betting has long been an issue in China and it seems that Olleh has highlighted a new form in the shape of people being allowed to bet illegally on some of the top League of Legends’ players solo queue games.
The illegal sites will offer the chance for punters to place bets on the solo queue games, including some of the biggest names at the highest level of League of Legends. The bet is essentially on whether the player will win or lose their solo queue game and this has reportedly led to some of these games being thrown on purpose so that people that know about the fix, can profit from the bet.
Victims of the Fraud
Perhaps the most surprising aspect about the post from Olleh was that he named arguably the most famous and one of the best League of Legends professionals in the world today, T1 star Faker, as being one of the biggest innocent victims of this particular scam.
It seems that betting traffic in China on these illegal sites is particularly heavy when Faker is playing. Also given his fame on the League of Legends scene, it is not difficult to understand why his games would be attractive to those seeking to fix a match.
Olleh explains that while he does not know who is manipulating the outcome of these games, he does know that there are people involved who “intend to throw gams to make money.”
Essentially, in these Solo Queue games, players will back Faker to beat their planted opponent, who intends to lose the game against the famous T1 superstar. Faker then duly wins the game playing honestly and unaware that the match is fixed, with his opponent losing the game on purpose, and thus the fix is completed and the ‘winners’ collect from the betting site.
Alerting the West
In his post, Olleh claims that while illegal betting and match-fixing has been rife, especially on these illegal betting sites operating in China, for some time, that streamers, gamers, and esports punters in the west should be wary that a similar issue could rear its head in Europe and North America in particular.
Explaining that he was concerned about what effect this type of criminal activity could have on the streaming and pro esports scene, Olleh urged action to be taken.
“If this happens, again and again, 1. Streamers will not stream often,” he stated.
“Before this stuff becomes bigger, it should be handled.”
The implication being that Riot Games or the Chinese authorities should perhaps become involved and they have, with Riot Korea commenting:
“We’re aware of the match-fixing from some foreign users that are in relation with these Chinese illegal betting sites, and the act of tampering with the outcome of solo queue matches is unacceptable, especially those of LCK pro players.
Ever since we became aware of this issue, we’re actively cooperating with the LPL to not promote these websites on their platform, with the ultimate goal of shutting all these illegal gambling sites down.”
However, the problem Riot face is that often these illegal sites operate from outside China and Korea and even if one is closed down, another will spring up in a different location offering the same type of betting. It is an issue that Riot has acknowledged they need to work on further when commenting:
“As one of the short-term measures to the ongoing battle against these illegal websites, Riot Korea will implement the creation of a hotline for LCK pro players, where they can easily get in contact with Riot, should they run into users that are suspicious of intentional match-fixing. We’re actively discussing various long-term solutions, so we’ll provide an update as soon as some of those solutions are ready.”
Photo Credits: Riot Games / Flickr